Paul Eldridge named as Putnam County Executive
Paul Eldridge, Putnam's long time Personnel Director, was unanimously selected as Putnam County Executive on New Year's Day by the Putnam Legislature. The historic action took place at the Putnam County Courthouse following the swearing in of officials on the state and county level.
Earlier this week, the Courier had reported that all nine legislators planned to vote for Eldridge. The agreement seems to have been reached after a meeting between the county Republican committee and the eight Republican legislators. Until then, there had been some support for appointing either incumbent Robert Bondi or outgoing legislator Mary Ellen Odell, who nearly defeated Leibell in the GOP primary.
Legislator Dan Birmingham of Southeast nominated Eldridge calling him "THE" county executive and not the interim executive. “We are all aware of Paul's history in our government and know that he will serve with pride and distinction in 2011until the next general election,” Birmingham said.
Fellow Philipstown resident Legislator Vincent Tamagna seconded Eldridge's appointment: "We must deal with the public interest first and realize that Paul knows each and every department in county government like the back of his hand. He will do an outstanding job."
Legislator Sam Oliverio of Putnam Valley, the lone Democrat on the nine member governing body, endorsed the selection: "I can't think of a better choice."
Following the swearing in, Eldridge told the Courier that he had former executive Bob Bondi to thank for "all the positives facing Putnam today. Bob has been my mentor. This has been a most unusual opportunity. I am happy for it. I am ready for it. We get to work today!"
Eldridge described the residents of Putnam County as being "resilient. Our citizens are well educated and hard working and in time of need they come together. I predict Putnam will be a better place come a year from now."
Eldridge's appointment was necessitated after former State Senator and County Executive-elect Vincent Leibell pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion and obstruction of justice just over a month before taking office for the post he was elected to in the November general election.